Growing potatoes

Potatoes are one of the easiest and most rewarding vegetables to grow at home. The taste of new potatoes from your own plot is unsurpassed.

If you only have a small area, you can successfully grow potatoes in containers; if you grow this way, it’s probably best to concentrate on new or salad potatoes, rather than maincrop, which take up more room, may be affected by blight and are cheaper to buy than new potatoes.

Charlotte potatoesHarvesting pot-grown Charlotte potatoes.

Potatoes are generally planted in spring and harvested over the summer and into autumn, although there are some varieties that can be grown for harvesting as new potatoes in time for Christmas.

Potatoes are classified in a number of ways, but the most common is by the length of time between planting and harvesting:

Early / new potatoes

Early or new potatoes are planted in early spring and are ready for harvesting in late spring or early summer after as little as ten or twelve weeks.

Earlies and second earlies are good for container growing and in areas where blight is a problem, as they are harvested before blight arrives around August and damages the foliage and tubers.

Second earlies

Second early, planted from March to May and ready for harvesting about 13 weeks later.

Early maincrop

Early maincrop, ready for harvesting August


Maincrop, ready for harvesting September / October, when the skins have become firm and set, ready to be stored through the winter.

Potato nutrition

As well as being delicious, potatoes are very nutritious. A 175g (6oz approximately) serving of potato provides:

Nutrient/vitamin % of daily requirement
Vitamin C 44%
Vitamin B6 30%
Potassium 22%
Iron 20%
Vitamin B1 16%
Folate 16%
Fibre 14%
Magnesium 11%
Calories 6%
Fat 0.7%
Rosemary Champion

About Rosemary Champion

Rosemary lives on a 12 acre smallholding in Angus, in the east of Scotland, where she keeps Ryeland Sheep, Shetland cattle and assorted poultry. She was destined to be a smallholder from an early age.

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